Monday, May 2, 2016

Two things profoundly touched me at Mass today. These things are shared not for my sake but to encourage and inspire the reader — you. 

First, the Mass was full and people were standing in the back. This is a “poor parish” but Fr. Bob and a team of young people have reached out to the community. It has worked. The church is full for all the weekend Masses. 

What is particularly moving is the blend of people — a great snapshot of the universal Church. Lots of whites, yes, but black singles and families too. Orientals, Middle-eastern, Hispanics…  And I made a mental calculate yesterday and concluded that more than half of the people were under the age of thirty. 

And they were participating, singing praying and visibly enjoying the Mass. What a joy for me! The Church is very much alive.

The second thing that touched me was a young black girl with her baby. She was nicely dressed and took good care of her baby boy. She looked uncomfortable, didn’t go up for holy communion and stayed to herself.  

Sometimes the Lord puts something in our mind or heart and hopes we will follow through. Usually we are too shy, timid or hesitant. “How do I know that is really the Lord asking me to do that?” 

Yesterday the Lord nudged me and I felt compelled to give the girl some money. I didn’t want to insult her or be condescending so I almost didn’t do it. But I pulled out my wallet and grabbed a $50 bill. After Mass I walked over to her and patted the boy not the head and said, “Beautiful baby you have.” She said “Thanks.”

Reaching out I handed her the $50 and said, “Use this to do something nice for him.” She looked surprised, I smiled and continued toward the door. A moment later she caught us before we left and said, “How did you know?” I said, “How did I know what?” She looked at me curiously for a moment and said, “How did you know that we are in a very tough financial position right now? How did you know?”

I said, “I didn’t know. The Lord told me to give you $50 and so I did.” She thanked me again and with a still incredulous look on her face she gathered up her baby and diaper bag and I was grabbed by another couple and didn’t see where the young mother went. I have a call in to the pastor to see if I can find out who she was so we can maybe help her some more.

After that event I thanked the Lord a hundred times and laid in bed full of joy that God had used me to do — who knows what? Was that her first time to church feeling lonely and not sure what to do? Did that small act of kindness pay a bill or allow her to buy food much needed that day? Will it encourage her to come back to Mass? Will that small act of generosity inspired by God lead that young boy to be a priest someday? 

I don’t know, but I am very happy this morning. The Lord is correct, “It is better to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). Try it!

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